streetshark Politifact Aug 28 2017
Mythical shark from fake urban legend photo  from Politifact

Spoiler Alert: This is NOT a serious, intellectual, profound, or thought provoking blog post. This is a piece of time wasting humorous, time wasting, hopefully, enjoyable fluff. My justification would be my altered version of the old saw, “All work and no play….etc.” is “All heavy journalistic posts make Poncho more embarrassing than ever to his/my offspring.”

I have a few close relatives in Houston which is getting pounded by Harvey, awaiting The Donald’s Visit, while my sister’s sports hero Jose Altuve the shortest Major League Baseball player who plays second base for the Houston Astros, can’t play in home games for the foreseeable future, and while her husband “J.D.” ( a real Texas name if there ever was one) helps in his ‘john boat’ in the neighborhood. So I am avidly interested in what is transpiring there is my father’s side of the family’s home area of East Texas, Harris County etc.

And wouldn’t you know it. A delightful Hollywood phenomenon, America’s version of the slew of Godzilla movies series of Japan, the Sharkanado movie series of the USA has struck Houston, helping to inject a little humor into the awful tragedy of Harvey and Houston.

A shark was again supposedly swimming in one of the flooded canals of dips in one of the Interstate highways or spillways and has made the news. Houston is not like certain areas of the world like supposedly New Zealand or Ireland (the latter thanks to St. Patrick) which have no snakes, does have snakes and lots of rattlers mostly. To lend perhaps indirect support to the Houston Shark swimming freely and menacingly through the floodways, I myself have seen dozens of snakes in and especially around the outskirts of Houston, especially ‘up Tom Ball way,’ a ‘real Texas town (like my all time favorite, ‘Cut ‘n Shoot’, Texas). But those are more populous as one proceeds west and northwest and southwest into those regions of Texas, my mother’s places of origin, i.e., El Paso and so on, where the landscape is even hotter, drier and true scrub desert. They even have ‘sidewinders’ out in those regions, a species of rattlesnake that crawls sideways in undulating ripples. These is the breed that was made part of our western cowboy lexicon in the movies and western television shows of 50 years ago when the name was applied to “bad guys,”, thieves, rustlers, cheats, and traitors. To call someone a “sidewinder” was a clear signal that one’s honor had been most atrociously impugned and besmirched and demanded a gunfight in the saloon or out on Main Street which seemed always to be ready for a bullet ricocheting gunfight since all the horses were tied up and the streets seemed always to be deserted in a state of readiness.

So it is with great humor busting regret I must perform my “fact check” and set the record straight: there is no shark swimming freely in the flooded waters of urban Houston. What a pity. This could have spawned (no pun intended) a host, another series of ‘Sharkanado” movies to protect Houstonians, the Astros, beef brisket places, those wonderful sidewalk genuine Latino made taco stands, the great Houston February Rodeo, the Alamo (whoops, sorry that is located in San Antonio) and of course our essential oil refineries. And my personal favorite, some of the best western boot stores in the Southwest.

I was so hopeful when the Net informed me there was a story about The Houston Shark. But when the website formed on my monitor, my heart sank as its title sank in: “There are no sharks swimming in the streets of Houston or anywhere else .” But it makes a great urban legend which reportedly has been around for some years.

And it makes a certain sort of sense. Houston is on the Gulf of Mexico. There ARE sharks out there somewhere I am sure. There have in years past been very rare shark attacks in the swimming waters especially in crowded tourist areas, but in all honesty, nothing compared to the Great Barrier Reef of northern Australia or the eastern shores of Florida in the last couple of years.

Australia is having its worst influenza season finishing up now, and this is no joke. I would rather have a real or imagined Sharkanado invasion than the flu season they have had there that readers will be hearing about in just weeks as we prepare for our own flu season.

And I hope the floods of Texas do not push out the rattlers and copperheads into swimming around roads and neighborhoods which sometimes happens in these vast storm born floods that cover wide swaths of land. No one needs that either. At least they call out the Army for the sharkanado deluges but for snakes, the first responders are not so vast and mostly are the animal (“vermin” in Texanese) control agents and they really do a good job but I don’t think there are 12,000 of them like in the Texas National Guard.

I am so sorry Texas that you are having the storm of this century it appears and I hope our country’s and citizens’ relief responses through the Red Cross remains widespread and long sustained. I know we personally are donating a carload of essentials and I expect we will be doing as part of our monthly budget for months to come. And I hope many others take the same approach.


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